Hudson County Community College on Friday said it was awarded a $2.2 million grant that will help fund its Technology Advance Project bringing Immersive Telepresence Video, or ITV, into the 24 classrooms of the school’s new Academic Tower.
HCCC President Christopher Reber said that, when HCCC began planning the new 11-story, 153,186-square-foot Academic Tower facility that will soon begin rising in the Journal Square section of Jersey City, technology to provide expanded learning opportunities for more students was high on the list of priorities.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we made a significant investment in technology to ensure our students could continue to make progress in achieving their academic goals by offering courses, programs and services remotely and fully online,” Reber said. “We determined that, if we had the resources, we would apply those and other advanced technology principles to the tower. Thanks to the advocacy and support of our representatives in the United States Congress and Senate, HCCC has been awarded $2.2 million in federal funding to make this a reality. This will greatly benefit our students and the entire Hudson County community.”
Former U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, who recently retired from Congress, said: “HCCC plays a critical role in our community — serving a diverse population, promoting social and economic mobility and helping students achieve the American Dream. This funding is an important part of my legacy as a congressman, and I was proud to secure these resources that will provide high-quality remote learning opportunities and increased access for students.”
“The construction of this Academic Tower is a huge step forward in fulfilling the vision we laid out more than two decades ago of a Hudson County Community College capable of serving the needs of 21st-century students, both now and in the decades to come,” Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said.
With ITV in the classrooms, HCCC will be able to foster synchronous learning classroom technology systems to connect remote students to in-class learning from home or across classrooms and campuses. It will also improve students’ educational experience by reducing travel and keeping students on their home campuses.
“This is a game changer,” Reber stated. “Implementing our Technology Advance Project will increase the number of certificates and degrees offered fully at all HCCC campuses; provide state-of-the-art, high-quality learning options; better accommodate student scheduling needs; increase enrollment; offer best-practice, cutting-edge workforce development programs; and help students build their technology and communication abilities in virtual environments. These skills are essential across today’s complex workforce.”
The mixed-use HCCC tower will be constructed on an existing, HCCC-owned parking lot located between Enos Place and Jones Street. It will replace a handful of the college’s segregated, aging buildings along Sip Avenue from Jones Street to Tonnelle Avenue in Jersey City, and consolidate programs and services provided in those buildings.
The HCCC tower has been designed for maximum efficiency and the care, comfort, safety and benefit of the college’s students and the community. It will include state-of-the-art classrooms; expanded spaces for student services; expanded and centralized offices for Continuing Education and Workforce Development; a full-size NCAA gymnasium, fitness and wellness center; University Center for sister colleges and universities to offer baccalaureate instruction at HCCC; a new workforce development health care lab; exercise science lab; black box theater; student commons areas; and administrative offices, among other features. Construction is expected to begin this spring.
In addition to the $2.2 million federal grant, the County of Hudson has committed up to $35 million in funding for the tower’s construction. The college has also submitted applications valued at over $18 million to the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education for funding from the Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund to cover the Community Education and Workforce Development classrooms, health laboratory, offices as well as learning laboratory and classrooms; Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund for technology infrastructure; and Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund for the fitness and wellness center and fitness laboratory.